New Mexico educator lived large in Vegas at expense of his charter schoolsBy John L. Smith, CDC Gaming ReportsNovember 7, 2017 at 12:01 amSouthern Nevada’s professional educators and administrators regularly search for new ideas to improve our struggling school system.But even their most aggressive inquiries at the headquarters of Media Learning Solutions of Las Vegas wouldn’t have given them much insight into the future of education. Its home office, if we can call it that, was located at 1350 East Flamingo Road, Suite 13B.That’s the address of a Mail Boxes, Etc. store. As it turned out, the entire company fit easily into box No. 3204.Media Learning Solutions’ only client was David Scott Glasrud, founder and longtime head master of the four New Mexico public charter schools known collectively as Southwest Learning Center Schools.Although it wasn’t known to his schools’ administrators and staff, he was also the creator of the fictitious Media Learning Solutions. Glasrud, 50, used that mail drop, and other cardboard cutouts, to siphon public and federal funding for his charter schools to help fund his lifestyle and pay his gambling debts, including those accrued at the Golden Nugget downtown.Now Glasrud is on his way to paying his societal debts after recently pleading guilty, at the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, to fraud, theft and false statements stemming from what authorities found was a 15-year plan to defraud millions of state and federal funds. He used the money to fund his lifestyle and his heavy gambling habit. He faces up to 63 months in prison and, as part of his plea agreement, is required to pay restitution. He will, however, avoid the possibility of further charges and charges against family members.The plan was half-clever, a paint-by-numbers forgery. As long as no auditor looked too closely or asked too many questions, Glasrud could tap a steady funding source for his gambling forays. And with 80 days of “leave” written into his contract, he never ran short of vacation days. He ginned up a fake proposal from the MLS “home office,” in reality just a private mail box.“I created this MLS proposal using my SLS-owned computer, copying parts of a proposal submitted by another vendor on the same project,” Glasrud admitted in his plea agreement. The Las Vegas “company” received $265,000 in 2009 and 2010.A New Mexico state audit of the school’s finances in 2014 raised red flags and resulted in scrutiny of Glasrud’s extremely generous pay and benefits. Glasrud resigned in 2014 after the Albuquerque Journal reported his schools were the subject of a multi-year federal investigation. — Defense attorneys aren’t paid for their sense of humor, but it’s obvious Albuquerque lawyer Ray Twohig has one.Twohig is Glasrud’s co-counsel.When presiding U.S. District Judge Molzen restricted Glasrud’s activities and forbid him from gambling as a condition of his release, according to the Albuquerque Journal, Twohig argued that his client gambled, ahem, but not in a problematic way.Not in a problematic way?Now that is the stuff of dark comedy. A guy betrays his profession, his associates and his students for 15 years, signs off on nine felonies to save himself from many more charges and a much longer prison sentence, admits he stole more than $1 million in state and federal education dollars, and lived a lie just so he could keep hitting the tables in Vegas and elsewhere, and he doesn’t have a gambling problem?As a rule of thumb, if your gambling habits draw a criminal investigation by the FBI and charges from the U.S. Attorney, you may stop pondering the philosophical question and consider yourself a problem gambler.It appears the wayward educator will soon have plenty of time to contemplate just such a possibility.Follow John L. Smith on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.